Sunday Cooking With Crys: Seppie e Piselli

I still find the odd moment to cook for myself and so, in celebration of my boyfriend finally finding a decent source of frozen fish in this town, I decided to make a comfort food favorite of mine: Seppie e piselli, or cuttlefish and peas.

First of all, I feel I need to emphasize the difference between the various cephalopods that make in onto my plate. I know that many people flinch away from the word “cuttlefish”, but in reality they are very similar to calamari (a.k.a. squid), just smaller, more flavorful and more tender.

Cuttlefish have a rounder mantle, containing a calcium-based internal shell called a cuttlebone. Squid belong to a different order of cephalopods, have a longer mantle, and only a thin plastic-like internal shell, made of chitin, called a pen. Another cephalopod that finds its way onto Italian plates are totani, which are in the same order as squid, but have no common name in English as far as I can tell. Of course, the king of the cephalopods is the octopus, but cooking those is worthy of a seperate post for another time.

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Are You A Picky Eater?

Sunday is a day that we talk about food, so I have a little quiz for you. You get 1 point for every thing on this list that you wont eat. Not things that you don’t particularly like but will eat if you must, just things that you wont eat. I’m curious to see how foodie my readership is.


My score is 4.

I wont eat blue cheese, because it tastes like mould, and so I wont eat it any more than I would lick the mouldy walls of a shower stall.

I wont eat bananas, because I’m allergic.

I wont drink coffee, because it is bitter, and thus my lizard brain tells me it tastes like poison.

I wont eat grapefruit, because it is bitter, and thus my lizard brain tells me it tastes like poison.

I debated about brussel sprouts, because they taste like crunchy little farts, but in the end I left them on there because I can eat them to be polite, so long as they’re overcooked.

Well, let’s make my score a 4.5

Now there’s a lot of animal products on there, so I have another caveat to the rules. If you are a vegetarian or vegan, only count the animal products that you actually don’t like the taste of, rather than the ones that you wont eat on principle.

and….. go!



And I mean that both literally and figuratively. Well, I can only assume that what I am seeing is also awesome sauce… I’ll let the video explain.



I love every part of this video. It combines innovation, a project aimed at helping people and bettering their lives, and what looks like some excellent food all rolled into one. How could I possibly not love it?

Too bad I’m not going to LA when I visit the States this summer, or I would definitely be giving them a call for an order.


I Need This In My Life

When I was younger and visited the States, there was a lot of junk food that I found fascinating. In the beginning I liked most of it as it was so novel, but then over the years I started losing my taste for almost all of it as my taste buds matured and I started to dislike the fake flavor of most of those junky foods. One thing however, which I will always love and adore them for inventing is cookie dough ice cream.

Raw American cookie dough is one of the most delicious things I have ever encountered in my entire life. While it is really bad for you to eat a lot of real raw cookie dough, to this day I have to admit that licking the bowl whenever I make cookies is the single best part of the entire process. That’s why, when I saw this video, I couldn’t help but share it here.



This is pure food porn for me, so much so that my brain does not want to admit to itself that it exists beyond the realm of fantasy. This is something I really need in my life.

Cookie dough is, I think, my ultimate guilty pleasure, the one I’m most embarrassed to admit to but one that I will never stop loving. Do you have any that you find hard to admit, but can’t kick?

Healthy Sunday Cooking With Crys: Tortini di Verdure

While Italians are not exactly known for their vegetarian dishes, they do eat a lot of vegetables compared to many other cultures. Because of this, you can come across dishes that are vegetarian by accident.

I tend to prefer these “accidentally” vegetarian or vegan recipes to ones that I will often see on veggie/vegan blogs, simply because they are not designed to imitate non-vegetarian dishes. I don’t want to eat a vegan steak, because it is never going to taste anywhere near as good as a real steak, and distantly reminding me of real steak on my plate just makes me frustrated and craving for the real thing. Dishes that happen to be vegetarian or vegan, on the other hand (like those vegan cookies I’ve told you about), were designed to be perfectly delicious all on their own, rather than pale imitations of something else, so I find them much more appealing for it.

Today, I’ll be giving you two tortino recipes, which is literally translated to “small cake”. However this is something of a bad translation, as cake implies flour. When we say tortino, we really mean something in the shape of a cake, but they often more closely resemble souffle, or flan.

Tortino recipes can be either salty or sweet, but today I’m going to talk about two recipes that are salty, and made with vegetables. These make filling and low- calorie snacks, but also good and different appetizers for vegetarian guests (neither of these are vegan though, vegan tortini are coming in another post).

Here, I’ll give you the recipe for a zucchini tortino, and for a cauliflower one.

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Sunday Cooking With Crys: Lamb Korma

It’s the season of lamb, so I decided to make a great korma recipe that I came across and modified over the years. It’s a recipe I enjoy also making for others because, while you can still taste the lamb nicely, the spices and sauce also mitigate the gamey flavor that lamb can have, so it’s great for guests who do not particularly like that flavor.

While I have modified it to make it a little less fatty though no less flavorful, one thing I strongly suggest against is messing with the spice combination. There is an art to combining spices in Indian cooking, one that I have not get managed to learn, so that the spices come together and taste like something different, and more, than their individual components.

So, having said that, here is my recipe for lamb korma.

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Healthy Sunday Cooking With Crys: Brazilian Bean Salad

Beans, beans, good for the heart

The more you eat them the more you fart

The more you fart the better you feel

So eat your beans for every meal!

Perhaps that was a touch childish, even for me, but that schoolyard rhyme is actually quite accurate. Apart from the fact that beans make you fart, which is a given, they actually are quite good for your heart as well, though indirectly.

Beans are full of dietary fiber, and eating plenty of it is associated with lower body weight and less cardiovascular disease, as it can lower blood cholesterol levels, hence being indirectly “good for the heart”. Beans also contain complex carbs and protein, and taken together these things help feeling fuller for longer. As to why beans also make you fart, I’ll leave that fun fact at the end, which will also include the reason why adding fiber to your diet by buying those powdery products to dissolve in your water is not really the best thing for you.

So, for this week’s healthy recipe, I’ll be making a very easy recipe that I learned when visiting my father in Bahia, a fresh and delicious salad made with black-eyed peas.

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Sunday Cooking With Crys: Italian Apple Crumble

I found myself with some leftover apples in my house. For my taste they were too soft to eat, but they were still in excellent condition and I thought it was a pity to throw them out. So, I decided to leaf through my books, notes and fridge to see what else I had lying around that could be thrown together with the apples to bake something. After all, soft apples are perfectly fine for cooking.

Some rummaging in my fridge yielded some extra sour cream that I had bought for another recipe and didn’t use. In that case, I’m going to make myself the Italian version of apple crumble.

If you already like apple crumble the way it is, you will find this version to be the poor man’s crumble so best save yourself the trouble. If, on the other hand, you sort of like apple crumble but find it to be too sweet and/or too buttery for your taste, then this is the recipe for you. It’s lower in fat, it’s not sweet, but it’s still very nice warmed with some whipped cream or ice cream next to it.

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When Scientists Have Fun

Two years ago, I went to the States for Xmas. I decided, to the delight of the Europeans I work with, to bring back a selection of typical famous American food for them to try, much of which they had heard of from various movies and TV shows that they had seen throughout their lives. I decided to bring back a selection of what I considered to represent both the best and the worst that the States had to offer and, to make it extra fun, I told them that they would not know which category the items fell in until after they had tried them all.

We set out a large table one day at lunch and they had a great time trying all of the strange and highly processed food. The lunch was even more fun than they had predicted, as heated arguments ensued as to which food fell into which of the two categories. Not one item was unanimously placed in either category, and I had a great time watching them argue for or against each of the things I had brought.

Among the contenders were Campbell’s cream of mushroom soup (made with milk), Kraft mac n cheese, strawberry Pop Tarts (both toasted and not), white cheddar popcorn, spray cheese on ritz crackers, Lucky Charms, Cheerios, Reese’s peanut butter cups, Hershey’s kisses, Twizzlers, Red Hots, Sour Patch Kids, string cheese, Spam and, of course, the most famous American food of them all, the Twinkie.

Everyone there had heard of Twinkies from various movies and TV shows, but no one there had actually ever tasted one. Many of them had also heard the urban legend that Twinkies last for eternity, that they will be the only thing to survive the nuclear apocalypse alongside cockroaches. The Hostess website, of course, says that this is rubbish, and that Twinkies definitely expire.

But we’re scientists, so of course we wanted to put this to the test. Everyone agreed that, given their reputation, we would have to keep one Twinkie in its wrapper in the office, and see how long (if ever) it took to show signs of deterioration.

I bought that Twinkie in December of 2014, it arrived in the office on January 2015, and it has been sitting on a top shelf in an office with no air conditioning, through hot summers and cold winters and all levels of humidity around it. Last week, I personally brought it to its new home in the new building. It is now well over 2 years old, so, what does it look like today?

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Sunday Cooking With Crys: Romanian Lamb

For this Sunday’s Romanian cooking spree, I decided to make two lamb dishes from the excellent lamb sold in Turkish shops here in Germany. One is a ciorba, a soup that precedes almost every Romanian meal, whether it is winter or summer. There are many different kinds of ciorba, but this one is a classic cabbage and lamb variety. The other is a simple yet delicious lamb and potato stew. Neither of these recipes look like much, but you would be surprised at how combining very simple ingredients can result in a more complex flavor than you would expect from just reading the recipe.

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